UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
[February 27, 2023: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
(Proverbs 4:14-19 ESV) (14) Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. (15) Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. (16) For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. (17) For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. (18) But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. (19) The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.
Reading through Proverbs recently, I noticed a number of passages that warn of the danger and the negative effects of associations with the wicked. The Lord’s wisdom instructs us to turn away from evil people — the kind who cannot go to bed at night unless they have worked their evil on someone. Their “food” is wickedness and violence. They have a taste for it and seem to thrive on it. Of course, in the end, it turns out that they are blindly heading for destruction. For all these reasons and more, we are wise to stay away from them. Similarly —
(Proverbs 13:20 ESV) Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
(Proverbs 14:7) Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
We see the same principle in numbers of places in the New Testament too. For instance —
(1 Corinthians 15:33) Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
(1 Corinthians 5:6) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
Now, what does all of this have to do with the subject of abuse? Well, it seems to me that it has a direct bearing upon the common struggles the abuse victim has in trying to decide if the Lord permits her to leave and / or divorce her abuser. It also comes into play in analyzing whether it is really true or not that children are always better off with two parents, even if one of them is an abuser. If the Lord advises us repeatedly to not associate with the wicked, how does that “square” with the common advice being given to abuse victims by pastors, churches, and individual Christians that they must stay in their marriage? Does the fact that a person is married to a wicked person negate all of this instruction to separate from such evil?
I don’t think so.
[February 27, 2023: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to February 27, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to February 27, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to February 27, 2023 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (February 27, 2023), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
4 thoughts on “Some Thoughts from Proverbs”
Thank you! I have found this to be true as well in comparing Scripture to what others “advise”. Thankfully I have a pastor that believes these Words and others apply to husbands and wives as well and he has supported me in my decision to remove myself and my children from under the roof of my husband, who is an emotional, financial, and verbal abuser. The Lord has been very gracious to me in giving me clarity in His word and a true counselor. By the way, my pastor isn’t very popular with abusers or the supporters of such either. He doesn’t condone or enable sin in anyone.
You are fortunate indeed that your pastor understands. Not many abuse victims / survivors can say that. I would love to build up a base of pastors who do understand abuse. I will send you an email asking if it is possible to correspond with him. Blessings in Christ.
Good post, Jeff. I recently had a conversation with someone about close friendships with the world. I was advised that it was the only way that they could hear and see the Gospel lived out. This was even after I mentioned that the people in question had stated that they were definitely NOT interested in the things of God. I felt uncomfortable with that advice and believe that a close friendship with the world will cause me to stumble. They will influence me rather than me influencing them. I’m not talking about isolating myself from the world, just close friendships with them.
Maree – yes, being bound together with unbelievers is more than just marriage. Besides, it really is impossible to have truly close relationships with the world — we aren’t at all on the same page. We love Christ. The world hates Christ, even though many unsaved people wouldn’t admit it or even realize it. Yet they do.